Right, so I'm 3 days into my new job (no I'm not going to stop talking about it yet) and, I kid you not, every part of my body is exhausted. I'm getting up before the sun rises in order to get to work on time, my legs burn from the amount of walking I've been doing in and around Hull and my neck and shoulders ache from being constantly poised at my desk so that I'm ready to spring into action if needed. It's all I can do once I get home to not collapse on the floor and fall asleep in the hallway! And I haven't even begun to express how tired my brain is. It's not used to this much thinking. I have no time at all to be a newbie; I have had to hit the ground running and haven't really stopped running since. It's stressful, confusing and I'm having to learn a lot VERY quickly. But I am the happiest I have been in a long time.
It might seem like those last two sentences don't really fit together, but honestly I'm happy to be this tired. You'd think that someone with anxiety and depression would want to avoid all things pressuring and stressful, and don't get me wrong, on my first day I was so anxious I had moments where I really wondered "can I do this?" The answer to that question is yes; yes I can. I might not know everyone's name or how everything works, but no-one does when they first start out. Everyone starts somewhere. Often having problems with mental health can mean people shy away from things, even the things they enjoy because they feel that they can't do it, aren't any good at it or because it seems too hard. I'm all for self care (I even dedicated my first post on this page to self care) but I am also about challenging myself. That doesn't mean I'm going to force myself to do something that will make me miserable, that'd be counter productive. However, I'm not going to do nothing either. The first step to recovery, is just to take a step. If you don't take any steps, you're just standing still. I don't know a single person who suffers from poor mental health who actively wants to remain where they are when they feel most affected. Whilst I know that everyone thinks, and therefore recovers differently, the thing that everyone has in common is that nothing changed for them until they did something different.
For me, as I have said before, that something different included being honest with myself about how I felt, but it also meant pushing myself daily to get up and do something, anything. Sometimes the big challenge was leaving the house for a half hour just to go outside, other days it was something else. I celebrated everything I managed to do like it was a great achievement, and I celebrated the big things in exactly the same way. I was as proud of myself for doing the dishes as I was for climbing Kilimanjaro. It might sound daft but sometimes you need to treat your littlest victories like you've completed a mountain trek because both can be exhausting and difficult.
Now just to clarify, I am not saying that my current job is like a 7 day climb up and down the largest mountain in Africa. What I am saying though, is that it has sometimes been hard. But like my climb in the summer of 2015 when I was exhausted and stressed and was thinking about the likelyhood of me actually dying on the side of this mountain in Tanzania, I will push myself to keep going, I will get better, and my footing will become stronger. Now, here in wintery Hull, I have managed to find something that I am good at, that I enjoy and that challenges me daily. And I encourage you to do the same. Find something that pushes you on. Find something that you don't mind being tired for. In fact, find something that makes you happy to be tired.
Happy Advent :)